Microsoft definitively buries its famous browser

Web icon for a whole generation, Internet Explorer will gradually disappear from computers from Wednesday, June 15. The announcement was made by Microsoft a year ago: after twenty-seven years of service, the most famous browser is living its last moments, the American company having decided to end its technical support, pushing users to adopt their new browser. “The future of Internet Explorer on Windows is Microsoft Edge. Not only is Microsoft Edge faster, but also more secure”justifies the American company.

Initially released in 1995 as additional content for the Windows 95 operating system, Internet Explorer was then in the minority compared to the giant of the time, Netscape, which had more than 75% of the market share.

But Microsoft will use trickery to make the blue icon the best-known logo of the coming decade. If you turned on a computer in the early 2000s, you surely remember that the small “e” surrounded by a yellow circle was already present as if by magic on your machine. And for good reason, Internet Explorer was installed by default.

Bugs that will make his legend

A paying strategy, since it will quickly catch up with Netscape, to overtake it at the end of 1998, less than three years after its launch. It became ultra-dominant on the market, peaking in popularity in 2003, when 95% of Internet users then used the Microsoft browser for their daily use.

But this meteoric rise raises questions, first and foremost in the United States, where Microsoft was accused in 2001 of having resorted to aggressive and anti-competitive practices to maintain its monopoly. Twelve years later, in 2013, the European Commission imposed a record fine of 561 million euros on it for having imposed the software on the consumer.

Thanks to this strategy, Internet Explorer became the flagship browser that rocked all Web users in the early 2000s. Doing a search meant going through it, its so characteristic design… and its flawed optimization. Who has never been irritated by its recurring slowness, generally accompanied, a few seconds after frantically clicking on the red cross, by the mention “Internet Explorer stops responding” ? The bravest then wisely waited for him to deign to fulfill his role again, while the most nervous grew impatient and caused the software to crash more. A situation that has marked users so much that a site recreates one of the most famous Internet Explorer bugs.

Browser bugs have, over the years, largely inspired the internet.

It’s still a classic Internet meme: it’s obsolete, nothing works on it, it’s reminiscent of the old CDI computers in colleges where it was the only browser… It’s becoming funny because it’s so badly optimized! »testifies to our colleagues from Franceinfo the creator of the Twitter account @intrnetexp who, for three years, has been making social networks laugh with his humorous diversions.

Internet Explorer was also the bane of Web developers, many of whom labored to produce an ergonomic Internet page on a browser that did not take into account all the standards of its time. “If you’re a web developer working on modern sites or apps, we know you’ve been waiting a long time for this day”, by the way Microsoft is joking about it in its press release announcing the end of the browser. Over time, the software had become the target of hackers, who regularly took advantage of its bugs and security flaws. In 2008, for example, a breach, later repaired, made it possible, thanks to a simple visit to a website, to install a program on your machine without your knowledge and then infect thousands of others.

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Crushed by the competition

Microsoft has long been confined to Internet users with a computer, while uses have evolved and 59% of global Internet traffic is now from a phone. Combined, these elements have contributed to its evolution over the years from the status of market leader to that of a recurring joke between geeks: Internet Explorer has become the software of novices and boomers. It is also the browser that, little by little, everyone used for the sole purpose of downloading Chrome (Google), Safari (Apple), or even Firefox (Mozilla), which are much more efficient and optimized for modern uses. So much so that in April 2022, only 0.39% of Internet users remained loyal to it, while Chrome proudly displayed 64.34% market share, according to the GlobalStatsCounter site.

The release of Microsoft Edge in July 2015 was already the beginning of the end for Internet Explorer since all the efforts of the American firm were focused on this new product, more modern and efficient than its ancestor. So much so that, four years later, Microsoft’s cybersecurity chief even called for people to stop using Internet Explorer for practical reasons, in a post titled “The Risk of Using Internet Explorer as Your Default Browser “. A shame for a company that has long imposed it as such on its customers.

An “Internet Explorer” mode remains integrated into Edge until 2029 to allow certain companies, still dependent on the old software, to continue to work. But Microsoft strongly encourages companies and Web developers to make the transition as soon as possible. However, some do not seem ready to mourn the famous browser, like the wave of nostalgia that has swept over social networks in recent days. Slow, not very functional, it is nonetheless the first gateway to the Internet for Generation Y.

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